Product Update: Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Expands Service Hours and Improves Customer Satisfaction

3 min readOct 9, 2019


By Jason Maeder, Director of Product

Local governments and utilities hold the unique responsibility of serving customers across an entire jurisdiction, inclusive of their diverse preferences and needs. What may be a convenient way for one customer to request service or pay a bill may look very different for that person’s neighbor. That’s why it’s important to provide multiple channels for a customer to interact with their service provider.

CityBase is excited to announce an additional channel for our clients to interact with the residents and businesses they serve. With Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology, customers can now check their account status, pay a bill, or request a service by call or SMS text. Users can now access services and information from the comfort of their home, 24 hours a day / 7 days a week; reducing the number of in-person visits and phone calls to city agencies or utility payment centers during business hours.

Key Features

  • 24/7 access to government services via local or toll-free number
  • Accessible for people with vision impairments
  • Credit, debit, or direct bank transfer payments
  • Multi-language support, with text-to-speech functionality standard in English and Spanish
  • Complete most transactions in two minutes or less
  • Real-time account management for customers
  • Transfer customers out to a call center, another IVR system, or specific staff
  • Configurable workflow and messages for agency administrators

How It Works

Routine tasks such as making a payment each month, checking hours of operation before leaving the house, or verifying account balance before making a payment can help customers accomplish tasks faster, with fewer interactions and higher satisfaction.

Pay A Bill in Minutes (or Less!)

Jim needs to make a water payment but doesn’t want to use his lunch break to visit a payment center and pay in person. He doesn’t have internet access at work and is worried that he may be assessed a penalty if his payment isn’t received today. By calling the number provided by his water company, Jim is able to look up his account balance by entering his service address, and make a payment over the phone in minutes, following intuitive voice prompts. Instead of rushing to the water department and back to work hungry, he enjoyed lunch with his co-workers and kept a few more dollars in his pocket; who doesn’t enjoy that?

Know Before You Go

Lisa needs to apply for a permit but isn’t sure what time her city’s building department closes today. Before she makes the trek to city hall, she would like to ensure they are open. She texts her city’s automated telephone service with the name of the department, and promptly receives a message back listing the building department’s contact information and hours of operation. Now that she knows the department is still open, she confidently makes her way to city hall. Completing her transaction in one visit makes Lisa happy and allows her to focus more time on growing her business.

More Options = Happier Customers

Utilities and agencies can offer excellent customer service by providing services to customers in their preferred method of interaction. Every person will have personal preferences, resource and technology constraints, and limited time to complete their task. Providing a variety of channels to complete common tasks provides people with the ability to choose their preferred method of interaction, resulting in a better user experience and happy customers.

If you’re interested in learning more, request a demo!

Originally published at CityBase.




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